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  Maybe They Will Sing for Us Tomorrow  
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I have been following Hammock for a few years now, and i was surprised to hear that in August of 2007, they had their live debut. That wasn't what surprised me -- i had a sneaking suspicion that they were a studio band. What surprised me was that they were performing live at a gallery opening for a showing of art by Riceboy Sleeps, a visual art concern featuring Jonsi Birgisson of Sigur Ros and Alex Somers of Parachutes. That was unusual, but it gets weirder: this Sigur Ros / art / Hammock event was happening in Arkansas! Yes, the home state of Bill Clinton and Walmart. One of those weird vaguely rectangular states in the interior of the country that i know nothing about. How very odd.

I did really want to see Hammock perform. Heck, i have been urging them to drive down to Atlanta for a show ever since i first reviewed them in 2004. Plus, i have never even been in Arkansas! Unfortunately, i did not have the PTO available to make the trek to the other side of The River, so i had to pass.

Fortunately for me, Hammock decided that they would record the music they performed, and this CD is that recording. This is a not a live CD though. Hammock wrote all new material for the gallery show, and they performed it live there, and then went home and recorded it in the studio, creating this CD. So it is a recording of a set written to be played live by a studio band. But it's not actually live, it is a studio recording of what they wrote to perform live. Got it?

Confusing though it may be, the end result is Hammock's most ambient record to date, and that is saying something. There is a certain minimalism to this recording. It is not made up of layers and layers of sound as is their usual technique; here Hammock is stripped down to two guys, their guitars, a metric ton of pedals, and some samplers. Not much to it, but they stripped their sound down like this to make it something that the two band members could do when suddenly in a room surrounded by Arkansasians who wanted to see Sigur Ros's visual art.

From that perspective, it makes complete sense. This music is Hammock stripped of the studio trickery -- all of the layering and tape delay and computer added effects. This is Hammock raw. Heck, this is as close as a band like them gets to performing "unplugged"!

It is a set of very minimalist, droning music. And it is beautiful. Really really lovely. If you have liked the dense yet pretty shoegaze that Hammock have made to date, then i think that you will most likely love the sparse, echoing beauty of this set. And the title? I think it is a question in response to the instrumental nature of this set, as opposed to the vocaled music that Hammock had been doing.

Anyway, it is really hard to describe this music. It is all ebb and flow, layers of effected drones moving against, through, and past each other. It is mellow, calm, relaxing, atmospheric, and rather lovely. If you like ambient music, then this is another fine release in a year full of good stuff in this genre.

However, i think that a lot of people will be bored with this. For example, there is nothing even vaguely resembling a beat. The album is 11 songs in about an hour, and the songs themselves all seem to flow together into one whole. It is also purely instrumental. If beatless, wordless, long songs that flow into one another is not something you enjoy, then you might want to stay away.

So, this is lovely ambient music, and fans will really enjoy it. I just don't think that people who normally do not care for ambient music will be interested in this at all though.

And another thing. If this is the sound of what Hammock can do live, then please guys -- we're just a few hours South on the highway! It's not that far....

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Also on EvilSponge:
    Album: Kenotic
    EP: Stranded Under Endless Sky
    Album: Raising Your voice ... Trying to Stop an Echo


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